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Big Winter Storm Coming

Big winter storm arriving later today — because, of course, 2020 would end this way, with a parting shot of awful weather.  I just sent the following message citywide.  Stay safe.

This is the City of New Rochelle.

A major winter storm is heading our way, with heaviest snowfall beginning late this afternoon and continuing into tomorrow. Roads will be extremely unsafe, so avoid unnecessary travel.

Garbage collection is cancelled for both Thursday in the north end and Friday in the south end.

If you lose power, contact Con Edison at 1-800-75-CONED or www.coned.com. Report downed trees and power lines to the New Rochelle Police at 654-2300.

Before the storm, if possible, please park cars off-street to make room for plows. As an option, parking will be free at New Roc City and at the New Rochelle Transit Center, today through Sunday night.

After the storm, please clear sidewalks and fire hydrants adjacent to your property. And, when digging out cars, please do not throw snow back into the street.

DPW will be working continuously through tonight and tomorrow – and, quite possibly, Friday and Saturday as well, but many streets may not be completely cleared for an extended period. Please plan accordingly.

For additional information, visit newrochelleny.com/stormupdates.

This has been Mayor Noam Bramson. Thank you for listening, and stay safe.

Domenic Procopio, Rest in Peace

Domenic Procopio, the Chair of New Rochelle’s Civil Service Commission and the long-time President of the Calabria Mutual Aid Society, passed away last night. His death marks the end of an era.

Big-hearted, warm, and generous beyond measure, Domenic loved our city unreservedly and was loved by countless friends in return. Beyond his direct contributions to public life, which were considerable and which earned him innumerable accolades, awards, and honors, Domenic also embodied the multi-generational experience of Italian-Americans in New Rochelle – the hard work, pride in heritage, and fierce determination through which so many immigrants and their descendants rose into positions of meaningful service, leadership, and success.

On a personal level, I will miss Domenic greatly. I will miss his unannounced visits to my office – voice booming out “hello Ms. Taylor, hello Mayor” – always a cheerful highlight of the day. I will miss his shrewd observations about the various characters and personalities who populate and orbit the City government. I will miss his deep knowledge of New Rochelle’s history, grounded often in his close relationships with the people who made that history.  I will miss his kindness, decency, and unshakeable loyalty. To understand Domenic fully, a listener was sometimes required to battle through his thick accent, but such attentiveness was well worth it and invariably rewarded with pearls of wisdom.

Were it not for COVID, Domenic’s memorial service would surely bring together hundreds of New Rochelle and Westchester residents in remembrance and tribute. That we cannot gather in person is an especially painful blow in an already painful year. Yet, even from afar, we are gathered in spirit, taking pride in Domenic’s accomplishments, drawing inspiration from his humanity, and expressing gratitude for the community he did so much to shape and strengthen.

May Domenic Procopio rest in peace.

County COVID Briefing

County Executive George Latimer invited me to participate in his COVID briefing yesterday.  Here’s the full video, with my segment beginning at about 20:30.  As his presentation illustrates, George has been an exceptional leader and communicator throughout this crisis, and New Rochelle is grateful for the County’s strong support and partnership.

 

Love is Love in New Rochelle

I am proud that New Rochelle has earned a top score on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy, and services.

The designation reflects the efforts of the City’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee, which raises awareness, educates, and advocates for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer residents of New Rochelle, while also helping to ensure that municipal government is fully inclusive.

New Rochelle takes pride in all of its diverse residents. In our city, love is love.

More in this press release.

NY Times Looks at Living in New Ro

A nice spread of New Rochelle images in today’s New York Times, with an accompanying article that explores living opportunities in our city.  As a relentless (and admittedly very biased) civic booster, I might quibble with a couple of phrases in the piece, but overall it shines a positive spotlight on New Rochelle, illustrating the diversity of our housing stock, and the qualities that attract many new residents.

Through the Winter Tunnel

WHERE WE STAND — DISCOURAGING TRENDS

Distribution of COVID cases, based on samples from Nov. 17 to Dec. 1

COVID cases in New Rochelle are up.  Way up.  About 600 active cases as of this writing, a huge resurgence of the virus compared to the relatively placid summer months, when our active cases dropped below twenty.  COVID continues to predominate in the more densely-populated southern half of the city, but the virus is present — and rising — everywhere.  Unless we get back on the right track, the winter will be long and difficult, particularly if hospitalization rates begin to outstrip capacity.

In contrast to the previous spike in the spring, this time New Rochelle is not an outlier; our COVID caseload tracks with regional trends and is about what you would expect based on population.  And, yet, because New Rochelle was one of the first communities in America to face and subdue the virus, our sense of frustration may be especially intense here.  It feels awful to backslide.

 

SUCCESS AND FAILURE ARE IN OUR HANDS

The City’s leadership and I will continue working to disseminate public health information as accessibly as possible, implement State-directed restrictions, enforce rules when we observe violations, partner with not-for-profit and service organizations to address human needs, support struggling businesses, and model responsible behavior.

But, in the end, the actions of local government only go so far.  COVID transmission is primarily a function of individual behavior, and that’s what counts most.  After months of guidance from public health authorities, we all know what we’re supposed to do.  It’s just that lots of us have gotten tired of doing it.

This is understandable.  It is very hard to maintain a disrupted lifestyle week after week — painful to be separated from friends and loved ones, hard to say no to kids’ play dates, tiring to wear masks all the time, and weird to be hyper-mindful of our physical distance from other human beings.  None of this comes naturally.  But we’ve got to keep it up.  Because the virus takes full advantage of our fatigue.

 

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Despite the negative trends today, there is good reason to be hopeful about tomorrow.  By almost every measure, we are better prepared for this challenge now than earlier in the year.  Testing is widely available.  Contact tracing protocols are in place.  Treatment is much improved.  And we know our enemy; we know which behaviors spread the virus and which control it.

Above all, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  True light.  Several vaccines have had highly successful trials, with distribution to priority groups imminent, and wider distribution likely to accelerate by the spring of 2021.  That’s when normal life can finally start to resume.

We have already lost too many neighbors, friends, relatives, co-workers, medical professionals, and First Responders.  Let’s not compound the tragedy by losing even more loved ones just as the end of this emergency finally comes into sight.  If you need help, here are resources.  If you are in a position to provide help, here are options.

New Rochelle has been an inspiring model of strength and unity throughout this hardest of years.  It’s our job together, as as community, to make it through this winter tunnel, bringing everyone safely to the other side.  Let’s be #NewRoStrong just a little longer.

 

Seasonal Giving Opportunities in New Ro

At the end of a challenging year, many of us are more committed than ever to supporting the community organizations and volunteer initiatives that sustain neighbors in need.  For those interested in exploring local and regional opportunities for charitable giving, our team has produced this helpful list of options. (And if you are a local organization or drive that serves New Rochelle and would like to be added to this list, please send information to newrostrong@newrochelleny.com.)

Free Groceries Delivered for Quarantined Families

Since the beginning of the COVID crisis, not-for-profit organizations throughout New Rochelle have stepped up in heroic fashion to meet urgent human needs.  Now, HOPE Community Services is expanding its already significant activities by offering free groceries delivered to the doors of families quarantined because of COVID.  Here’s more information, including a sign-up form.  Thank you, HOPE!

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